Ohio EPA Finalizes 2022 Water Pollution Control Loan Fund Program Management Plan

More than $2.4 billion for infrastructure, restoration projects to improve water quality

Ohio EPA has finalized the Agency’s Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) 2022 Program Management Plan. The fund provides financial and technical assistance for wastewater infrastructure and restoration projects that improve the quality of Ohio’s rivers, streams, lakes, and other water bodies.

Ohio EPA received project nominations from all 88 counties in the state that total more than $2.4 billion for fiscal year 2022 and will make loan funds available to all applicants that meet program requirements. The full list of nominations begins on page 26 of the plan.

Up to $35.7 million will be available in 2022 for principal forgiveness (the portion of a loan that a borrower does not have to repay). Principal forgiveness funding will be directed toward regionalization projects, household sewage treatment systems, other wastewater-related projects, and back-up power facilities.

The plan also makes $50 million available interest-free to promote regional approaches to managing wastewater infrastructure and $50 million interest-free for nutrient reduction projects to help manage harmful algal blooms. Up to $15 million is available to fund projects under the Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program for projects that improve the ecological function and biodiversity of Ohio’s waters.

The primary sources of WPCLF assistance are proceeds from bond issues, available loan repayments, and federal capitalization grants. Ohio EPA may issue revenue bonds to help in meeting the coming year’s funding requests.

On a separate, but related topic, the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) was passed on November 15, 2021. The IIJA includes additional appropriations, not currently included in this funding round, which may be available to enhance the WPCLF in 2022. Ohio EPA will share information about opportunities available under the IIJA as they become available.

Since 2011, Ohio has invested more than $10.7 billion in WPCLF funding for key infrastructure and restoration projects to improve water quality statewide.

A public hearing was held Dec. 2 about the draft plan. The final 2022 Program Management Plan is available online or by contacting the Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance at defamail@epa.ohio.gov or calling (614) 644-2798.